2011-2020ArthouseFranceJean-Marie StraubPhilosophy

Jean-Marie Straub – L’aquarium et la nation (2015)

A silent aquarium with numerous fishes
then the same aquarium with music

A man (Aimé Agnel) reading “Les noyers de l’Altenburg” in a bright room with a view
then a woman voice asking one question

An extract of La Marseillaise

Cast :
Malraux’s reader : Aimé Agnel (“L’homme au tablier : le jeu des contraires dans les films de Ford”, for ex.)
A question from outside : Christiane Veschambre

One can imagine that recent events (Jan & Nov 2015) in France may have inspired this film to Jean-Marie Straub. He delivers his view of the nation with the help of extracts of Malraux’s “Les Noyers de l’Altenburg”, of Renoir’s La Marseillaise and of red gold fishes. In one word, with the help of cinema, its science and its magic.

The main emotion for me is the simple form of it, encapsulating the matter as the nation encapsulates men, the aquarium fishes, creating sweet “harmonies” between the three parts. I like the duration given to the fishes (reminding a Bill Viola I like maybe more than the others… “I don’t know what it is I am like”), letting us be immerged in another reign… or society – silent fishes or Schubert ones – the hypnotic tension and awaiting for resolution it brings until Malraux/Aimé’s last words.


Subtitles:English (hard)

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